The Qualifier 1 against Gujarat Lions will always be the nightmare that turned into a dream.
It was a massive occasion for Royal Challengers Bangalore and, late in the afternoon, before we left for the stadium, I remember telling my wife Danielle that I felt nervous about the match. I didn’t have a good feeling.
We bowled reasonably well, restricting Gujarat to 158, but it was horrible to watch from the other end as my teammates were dismissed during an inspired spell of bowling by Dhawal Kulkarni. When we were 29 for five, the nightmare was happening.
All I could think was ‘we need to get a partnership going’, and, somehow, taking it ball by ball, run by run, without thinking too far ahead, it started to happen with Stuart Binny, before he was out.
Then, I found the perfect partner in Iqbal Abdulla. He was calm when he came to the crease, and gave me confidence, letting me have the strike when necessary and relieving pressure by hitting boundaries at exactly the right moments.
Even amid the top-order collapse, I felt we could turn the game around. Anything is possible in T20 cricket and I tried to focus on ‘seeing the ball’ well, and, from my first delivery, I felt as though I was seeing the ball pretty well. That’s always a good sign.
So we began to chip away at the target, taking ones and twos and hitting anything loose to the boundary. At some stage, we needed to take risks and have one big over and, with the threat of rain, Virat Kohli made a great call when he sent a message, saying we should go after the 15th over bowled by Dwayne Smith. The gamble came off and the 14 runs in that over swung the game in our favour.
The Chinnaswamy crowd made more noise than I have ever heard at a cricket ground, and it felt as if the stadium was roaring when Abdulla hit those three boundaries to clinch the comeback victory in the 19th over. It was a great team effort and a fantastic feeling for the entire RCB organisation --officials, sponsors, coaches and players --- to have booked a place in the final. Now, we need to win it.
The writer is a RCB batsman
First Published: May 27, 2016 08:38 IST